We dedicate a lot of growing space to tomatoes in the GardensAll gardens. Most of them are being grown in straw bales, but we also have some growing in bags, self watering tubs, cinder blocks, and a raised bed.
Okay, we got a little carried away. Tomato fever came over us. Anyway, we’re also using a variety of ways to trellis, tie, and cage them, and that’s what we’re sharing here.
If you don’t have time to make your own tomato cages, you can buy them. We’ve had success with purchased tomato cages, but some of them are too flimsy, so be sure to get some of the sturdier tomato cages like these by Gardener’s Supply. You can get them on Amazon or from your local home store.
Wire Tomato Trellis
For the main garden, we’ve set up a wire trellis system with 5 runs of wires about 10 inches apart, using T posts and 1 inch conduit pipe as a top structural feature. This seems to work well so far.
One of our “Hillbilly” tomatoes (wouldn’t you know) has overgrown the support, so we are adding height with a stout bamboo pole lashed to the wires.
Speaking of bamboo, we use it for so many things in the garden and yard, let’s take a quick detour into it.
We have a patch of assorted bamboo, including black bamboo. We’ve found bamboo to come in handy for many things over the years, so recommend growing some. We like the black bamboo for the exotic feature it adds to the landscape. But…
Just remember to get the “clumping bamboo” because it doesn’t take over your land… unless you have an area where you’d like it to spread in. There are so many beautiful varieties to choose from and add visual interest to your landscape in addition to cutting and using the bamboo stalks in endless ways.
Bamboo Uses – what we’re using it for:
The straw bale “block” garden has wire (cattle) panels at the top and bottom ends supported by T-posts. It seemed such a waste to plant only two tomato plants per bale so we put in a third one in the middle. That left us with an issue of how to support that middle row. Our solution was to span over the bales with bamboo poles. They are paired together, one on each side of the plant and fastened to each other and the wire grid with rubber bands- making them easy to remove. As the plants grow, we keep adding cross members. We’re thinking these will brace the plants without having to tie them to any support.
Our third method is tying off to the wire panels. Because the lower edge of the panels are raised to straw bale height, we have some 48 inches of vertical room to grow.
Fourth up, we have a “lightweight” cherry tomato plant that was leaning. We jammed a couple of 5 ft flower support stakes (with built in flexible wires) and came up with an instant support.
Creative Tomato Cages
Some tomato plants can grow quite huge and will need a good support.
Here are four cool tomato cages you can make. These range from a wooden cage that will add a beautiful vertical accent to your garden to the all practical cage using live stock fencing.
Build Folding Wood Tomato Cages
Article excerpt and photo by John “Woody” Woodzick on Mother Earth News
Six 1-by-3-inch wooden strips measuring 8 feet long
One 2-by-4-inch piece of scrap board measuring 8 inches long, for the top section that will serve as the pivot point where the two “ladders” hinge
What’s great about this idea is it provides a shortcut to a cage system that can support 6-12 tomato plants, and save lots of time over making 6-12 individual cages. Learn how in just over 4 minutes, then go build your own!
Next up: how to build heavy duty tomato and vegetable cage.
Reinforced Wire Tomato Cage
Tomato cage out of cement reinforcement wire. These can be used for any climbing veggie or even if open flat as a trellis.
Learn how to make your own in just 8 minutes.
Next, how to make two variations of PVC pipe tomato cages.
PVC Pipe Tomato Cages
So… what kind of tomato cage are you using or building? Come on over to the Gardens All Facebook page and join the conversation… post your pictures. We enjoy the company!
For more on growing tomatoes, you may also enjoy this article.
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